I really wanted to like this book. I seem to be currently waiting for the next installment of 3 or 4 different series. I was looking for a series of books that were already complete, and this story looked like a good one. I listened to the preview before downloading, and the narrator seemed to have a good voice, and I was excited to get started.
Unfortunately, I listened through this story, and never seemed to get into it. I kept listening, hoping it would get better as many books do, but it never did. Initially the story seemed to have promise. I liked both the characters of Llian and especially Karan. But soon Llian began to seem like a spoiled kid, and I lost interest in his part of the story. I continued to like Karan, but her story seemed jumbled and tedious. In one scene she is being chased by creatures through a swamp. The description of her struggle goes on forever. Just when you think it can't go any longer, she is suddenly free and the story takes up days later. Another thing that lacked was the magic in the story. Some sort of mind fighting between the characters that made little sense.
The last thing I didn't care for was the narrator. While I initially thought this would be a strength of the book, I soon found out I was wrong. Cartwright has a decent voice that was initially pleasing to listen too, but I started to notice that he continually stopped to swallow, and make noises that seemed like he was licking his lips. It became very distracting. I have never heard anything like it before in an audiobook.
Overall, this book had promise, it just never seemed to fulfill it.
So, I just finished a book, and need a new book to listen to before the release in one of my favorite series comes out in a few weeks. I need something not to long, but that I know I will enjoy. I decided to come back to the Riyria series that I loved so much with the first trilogy.
Beginning this book, it was like coming home. While the Riyria books aren't complex like the Wheel Of Time or A Song Of Ice And Fire, there is something endearing about these books that just simple make you happy when you read them. The tales of Royce and Hadrian are like following along with two old friends on grand adventures.
Author Micheal J. Sullivan has created a wonderful series in the Riyria Revelations and Riyria Chronicles, especially in the audio format. It's just the right mix of setting, characters, and narration, that makes you want to come back again and again.
Hope for many more of these books.
So here we are, in what is billed as the third book in the Shadowdance Trilogy. In the first book, you have the story of Thren Feldhorn, leader of the thief guilds who terrorrise the city of Vehlderan, and his son Arron/Hearn, who learns to despise his father as he grows to be an adult. In the second book you have the now adult Arron/Hearn, who is now “The Watcher”. Throughout the book, he takes the lessons he learned from his father to take control of the city, and force the thief guilds to play nice with the wealthy merchants.
So now that the third installment of this trilogy is here, does Arron/Hearn/The Watcher wrap up these threads left from the last book? The answer is no.
Arron/Hearn’s entrance into this new book begins with him learning of a copy cat killer named The Wraith (more on him later) in another city who is leaving the symbol of The Watcher whenever he kills someone. Arron/Hearn goes to his home he shares with the mercenary band with whom his hopeful love interest Delisia belongs. It has been five years since the last book, so by now surely the love has blossomed into a relationship right? Nope. Arron/Hearn still acts like a scared teenager in high school, and in fact only gets his first kiss upon telling her he is leaving town. As the book goes along, you begin to realize that the plot lines followed from the first book, are not to be followed in this one. Arron/Hearn’s confrontation with his father never happens. The mysterious plot hinted at revolving around Death Mask never materializes. The story of Alysa’s son is dropped, as he is quickly sent away to another far away kingdom after seemingly taking up the majority of the last book to get him back. The storyline of the two churches and the priests are non existent, along with the faceless ninja like nuns, with Zusa now nothing more than a body guard to Alysa.
While some may enjoy this book as an additional tale added along to the first two books, it makes absolutely no sense as the final book of a trilogy. There are no answers here, and no continuity of the plot. The author apparently realizes these faults in the story, and in a message at the end of the book states the ending of the last book was rewritten so as to add another book or more to the series to wrap up some of the loose ends.
And now, the narration. I blasted the narration of the first book, but went easy on the second having read them back to back. I had begun to get sort of used to the voices by then. After listening to the second book however, I found the third was not yet available. I went on and listened to another book. The narration in that book (Blood Song by Anthony Ryan if your interested) was perfect. The voice of the reader perfectly complimented the book. After the experience of listening to a awesome reading of a very good book, it was a shock to my ears when I came back to this series. I had forgotten just how horrible the narration for this series was, and I had a hard time getting back into this book. This narrator is just beyond terrible, and once again I was struck by the cartoonish reading, and the awful voices. The perfect example of this is new character The Wraith. You spend the first part of the book listening about how frightening this Wraith is, and have an entire scene where he goes to the well guarded home of the most powerful man in town and slaughters not just his family, but all of his guards by himself. After this scene, the manly, skillful, and deadly monster known as The Wraith sneaks into a meeting of elves. As they see him they become fearful, most like from his visage of testosterone, and he begins to speak. Does he have the voice of a manly man? No. He sounds like a twelve year old girl. A twelve year old girl who has been spoiled her whole life by her rich mommy and daddy.
This whole book, and now in hind site, pretty much this whole series, is just a huge disappointment. After reading early reviews I really thought I would enjoy this series. The first book was promising, but it is downhill from there. The series as a whole never completes the promise or plots it set out with, and I think I overrated Mr. Dalglish’s writing ability. The narration takes this series down even further. I am tempted to go back to my first review and title it, “Don’t get pulled into this mess of a series”. I will probably not move on to the new books added to this trilogy in the future unless a new narrator is brought in.
I decided to pick up Anthony Ryan’s Blood Song after noticing that it was being compared to some of the best fantasy books out there. Most notably, I have seen it compared several times to Patrick Rothfuss’ “The Name Of The Wind”. The Kingkiller Chronicle books are at the very top of my favorite books, so I put Blood Song at the top of my books to listen to. After listening, I can see why there are comparisons, and while I don’t think this book is quite at the level of “The Name Of The Wind”, it is indeed a very good book.
Part of the reason for so many comparisons between the two books would most likely be the beginning of both books start with the main character telling his story to a chronicler, and also both books are told in first person narratives. This story begins with Vaelin Al Sorna, also known as the “Hope Killer”, similar to Rothfuss’ “King Killer”, telling his story from the time he was a child. Vaelin’s story begins as his father drops him off at The Sixth Order, a school where students learn to become soldiers of the faith, and is part of a larger church which include 6 other orders. This would also seem to be a similarity with The Name Of The Wind, as Kvothe’s story also begins with him going to a school for magic. This is however where the stories begin to differ. Whereas Kvothe is some what of a prankster who finds himself often in trouble, Vaelin Al Sorna, the main character in Blood Song, is more of a serious personality, and quickly throws himself into the teachings of his order. Vaelin learns his trade faster then all his fellow students, and makes a name for himself as a fierce warrior.
As the book goes on, and as Vaelin rises in stature and power, it become apparent that this book is much more than a copy of another more famous book before it. Blood Song is a powerful story, and I found myself enthralled in Vaelin’s rise to fame, and his struggles to keep himself tied to his values and his faith. He finds himself both loved by his fellow soldiers, and vilified by those he concurs.
The narration by Steven Brand for this book was perfect. His voice was spot on what you would want for the voice of Vealin. I have listened to many books, and it is such a pleasure when you find the book that has the combination of excellent story combined with excellent narration. Blood Song is one of those gems. I highly recommend this book, and can’t wait for the next installment.
I went into A Dance Of Blades right after listening to the first book A Dance Of Cloaks. In my review of the first book, I noted that I really liked the story but didn't much care for the narration. The same applies to this book, however after listening to the first, I have become somewhat used to the narrators speech, and I didn't find it as bothersome this time around. So I won't spend a lot of time on it here.
A Dance of Blades finds Aaron, now named Hearn to his friends, and The Watcher to everyone else, now on a vendetta to stop his father and the other thief guilds. The book starts out the action quickly, and Hearn even leaves the city of Velderin, showing a little bit more of this world. While on the road he encounters an ambush of the caravan carrying the son of Alyssa, one of the characters from the first book, and now a powerful merchant. Hearn intervenes to try and save the boy, but is later blamed for his death. This sets up the rest of the story, with all characters seeking revenge.
There are several characters that continue on from the first book, and some who didn't survive the first book are missed, although at least one reappears having apparently survived. There are also a few new characters, Death Mask, a wizard who joins the Ash Guild in a plot that is not quite fully uncovered in this book, and Ghost, an assassin who is very skilled and entertaining. I did have to laugh a little at their comic book names though.
I would have liked to seen a little more of the world this book is set in, but almost as soon as the story left the safety of the city, much like the main character Hearn, it seemed to grow afraid of what lurked outside the walls and quickly retreated back inside. Overall though, this is a very exciting second book in the Shadowdance series, and I think author David Danglish will become a name in the fantasy genre if he continues with books like this.
A Dance Of Cloaks was another Audiobook where the narrator almost ruined the book. But before I get to that, I want to say that I thought the actual story itself was good enough to keep me going. Dance Of Cloaks begins with the story of Aarron, the son of the leader of a cities thief guilds. The father Thren is a bastard of a character, and runs the city with viciousness. Throughout the book he is not a very likable person. Despite this the book is enjoyable due to a cast of other characters, both good guys and bad, who bring the book to life. The first is Aaron who is torn between his devotion to his father, and his distaste for the things he does. I also liked Sinke, one of Thren's henchmen with a good sense of humor, Kayla the pretty street wise girl who Aarron has a crush on, and Alyssa the daughter of a wealthy merchant and rival to Thren. I also really enjoyed the nuns called the Unseen who were more like ninjas than nuns.The story it's self is interesting and well paced. There is not a lot of world building in this story as it mostly takes place in one city, but it is the first in a series, and will likely expand. Had it not been for the aforementioned narration, this book would have gotten a solid 5 stars from me.
Unfortunately, I really did not care for Elijah Alexander's reading of this book. His main narration is not horrible, or the worse I've heard, but right from the get go I felt he was talking way to fast as if I was listening to a commercial where the announcer was trying to get in 5 minutes of information into a 30 second spot. I had to rewind a few times to get things he had said. That wasn't what bothered me so much though. It was his voices for the characters that were horrible. All of the characters had quiet feminine voices, and for a story that takes place in one city, each had a different accent. Characters had accents reminiscent of British, Irish, Indian, and everything in between. The character Sinke sounded like one of the German guards from Hogan's Heroes. And then when you thought you heard it all, a priest shows up about three quarters through the book who sounds like a hillbilly redneck. I did manage to eventually get used to the voices and Mr. Alexander's speed about halfway through the book.
Overall, this is a very good beginning to a new fantasy series. It would be a shame to miss it due to the narrator, so if you cannot get past the voices, I would suggest you buy the book and read it instead. Or, you can do like I did, and push through and enjoy the audiobook despite it's faults.
I guess I should start this review by saying that I am a huge Brandon Sanderson fan. I should also say I am not really a big fan of comic books or super hero books. Not a huge super hero movie fan either. I know that may be crazy to some fantasy fans, but I haven't had an interest in comics since I was a kid.
With that said, I was initially excited when I heard Mr. Sanderson was releasing a new YA book after I had just finished a very enjoyable book in The Rithamist. So when I started to read the reviews describing this book as Sanderson's attempt at writing a super hero book, I was skeptical I would like it. As I began the book, my fears began to become reality as I initially felt the super heros, or more super villans, were a bit cheesy. Bad guys who killed people by pointing, shoot guns without running out of bullets, or turn everything they see into steel, was a little too young adult for me.
I pressed on through the book though because of my love of Brandon Sanderson's work, and because despite not caring for the concept of the book, the central character of the book David began to grow on me. Narrator Macleod Andrews does an excellent job of performing the voice of David from which the story is told first person. As the book went along, I began to stop thinking about the concept of the book, and began to enjoy my listen.
Overall, even though I had a difficult time initially getting into this book, the combination of Macleod Andrews' reading and Brandon Sanderson's always excellent story telling had me enjoying this book whether I wanted to or not.
Heir of Novron takes the steam that was built from the last book and builds it into a wonderful and exciting ending. What begins as more of a buddy story in a fantasy setting ends as a top rate fantasy story. The author Micheal J. Sulivan seemed to grow as the story grows, and I am looking forward to future series from him as well as the new Ryria Chronicles books.
Narrator Tim Gerard Reynolds was solid as usual. I highly recommend this series.
After reading the second Riyria book, I am starting to understand some of the good reviews for the series. While the first two books were more single stories within the same setting, with Rise Of Empire, author Sullivan begins to expand the story beyond the exploits of Royce and Hadrian, and with this, the series begins to become a new and much more enjoyable experience. Characters from the first two books take on expanded roles, and new characters form to provide the listener with a larger epic fantasy type world.
I really enjoyed the larger roles for the women, Arista, Thrice/Modena, and new character Amelia. Their additions opened up what was an average story to something much more grand.
The narrator Tim Gerard Reynolds continues to be solid, and I think his voices are growing on me despite some of characters sounding the same.
Overall, I am enjoying this series very much, and have already moved on to the next book in the series.
As I read Theft Of Swords, I got into the book pretty quickly, and the story continued to move along at a good pace. I began to realize though, that there was nothing really new or original going on. The fantasy world is nothing special, featuring kings and queens, princes and princesses, and your usual array of nobles and church leaders. There is a wizard who hints of magic not much used in the story. And of course, your main characters must be bad guys with soft hearts, or a child born of poverty who grows to become hero of the world. In the case of Theft Of Swords, the heroes are the former, thieves who are famous for their ability to steal anything, and are also dangerous enough to scare anyone who might want to stop them.
With this said, I still found myself enjoying the book despite it’s short comings. Though there weren’t any wow moments in the book, it didn’t take long to become comfortable with the main characters Royce and Hadrian. It’s like going on vacation to a new place, and when you get there you realize the attractions aren’t much different than where you usually vacation. But you decide since you are there, you are going to enjoy attractions anyway. This book is much like that, a familiar setting, easy to like heroes, and a fun if not original listen.
The narrator is kind of like the book itself, he’s good, but not great. It took me a bit to get used to his reading, but once I did, all was good.
Overall, I’d say this book is worth a listen, especially with the added value of getting two books for the price of one. I wish Audible would bundle more series like this. Maybe even three books for two credits for trilogies and such. I liked the second book better then the first, as the story seemed to improve as it went along. This is a good easy listen for those who are waiting for the release of the next installment of another series. I’m sure I will listen to the next book in the series to see if it continues to improve.
I have to admit, I had initially given up on this book before coming back and trying again. Expecting this book to start off where the first book left off, I was initially confused when this book starts off back in modern times, and begins jumping around from place to place with characters that had not been introduced to the story before. I began to wonder if this book was going to begin a totally new story separate from the one in the first book, and not involving any of the previous book's characters, and decided to shelve it for awhile and listen to another book.
I eventually returned to “The Twelve”, and it appears I gave up just as the story was beginning to take shape. On my second attempt to listen, I found myself quickly falling into the story and it’s new characters, an ex-military loner, a secret service agent, a doctor left behind by her husband, and a teenager, her brother, and a slow man who drove their school bus. One character, Grey, had a small part in the last book as a janitor in the facility that housed the virals. The story begins to take shape as the new cast of characters attempt to flee their homes at the begging of the plague.
Eventually the story switches back to the future, and some of the old characters you grew to love in the first book begin to re-emerge, with Peter once again as the focal point. The story begins to take shape from there, and you start to see the reason for the additional characters added at the beginning of the book. All the characters from the first book, including Amy, slowly gather together to once again fight the twelve viral leaders.
In the end I enjoyed the book very much, although there were a few things that could have been better. The beginning of the book was jumbled and confusing. On the other hand, I suppose I could have been a little more patient while the story developed. The book spent a lot of time on the teenaged girl who traveled with her brother, their school bus driver, and a ex-military loner, and eventually they’re introduction went no where. Perhaps they will show up in the next volume of the series, but it seemed to be a waisted investment in characters. The narrator is a little dry, and it takes a while to get used to him as well, adding to the difficulty with the books beginning. Also, while the last book ended with a cliff hanger, this book offers few details about what happened during the viral attack on the Texas colony Roswell, or how the characters got scattered all over the place. Or how Amy and Peter end up in Texas themselves for that matter.
Overall though, this was a pretty good middle book in the series, and I look forward to the next installment.
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